Some backup vendors support any operating system – as long as the operating system is Windows. Seriously, it’s actually even worse than that. There are vendors that support only Windows servers. Even worse, these vendors don’t support NASs in any form nor do they support direct-attached SANs. As long as customers are willing to not just protect only what these vendors allow but are willing to forever forego the use of any other operating system, things can hobble along. Or should I say, these customers can dance to the strings being pulled by the vendor.
Other vendors say they support Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, but you need to be very specific when validating these types of claims. What versions? What platforms for what versions? Is the support 32-bit, 64-bit, or both? Which distribution of Linux? And on, and on, and on – the support of heterogeneous operating systems and platforms is a complex business. And particularly watch for the vendor stating they support “UNIX.” This is akin to asking someone what kind of dog they have and the answer being “mammal” – true but neither accurate nor descriptive. There are many UNIX variants out there and each has its own particular variant.
Even when a vendor tells you that they support something specifically – for example, Novell Netware – be very careful concerning what “support” really means. There’s one vendor famous in our industry for claiming that they support Novell, and then their customers find they can’t restore basic configurations. But this isn’t limited to Netware – we see the same thing every day in Windows as well.